Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Ric Flair retires
I don't normally write about the WWE on this blog but Ric "Nature Boy" Flair's Farewell Address on last night's RAW is worthy of notice for a couple of reasons. First, we're talking about Ric Flair, probably the greatest combination of in ring and talking ability in pro wrestling history. A lot of guys can do one or the other but Flair is a rare bird. It was also one of the most memorable RAW segments in several years and even non-wrestling fans should watch it because it's just great TV. Of course I have video footage (in two parts) so you can watch it right here on your favourite blog.
Ric Flair is arguably pro wrestling's greatest of all time. He's become more beloved by fans in recent years. They couldn't even get fans to boo him anymore regardless of what he did. It was first rumoured last summer that he would retire after Wrestlemania 24. And that's what happened when he lost to Shawn Michaels on Sunday. So on last night's RAW, Flair gave his Farewell Address. Thankfully it became a celebration of an all time great. The WWE looked at several Ric Flair highlights during RAW and one of Flair's greatest opponents Dusty Rhodes added his comments. Flair came out at the end of the show to thank the fans. But that was only the beginning.
HHH came out and said that now it was time for the WWE and the fans to thank Ric Flair. First he brought out JJ Dillon, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard & Barry Windham of The Four Horseman. It's difficult to say what type of wrestling career Anderson would have had without Ric Flair. Next out was Dave Batista of Evolution followed by two of Ric Flair's greatest opponents. Ricky Steamboat had his greatest matches against Flair in the NWA in the 80s and Harley Race had some great matches with Flair earlier in the 80s. BTW, Anderson, Windham & Steamboat all have backstage roles in the WWE.
They were followed by Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, former Horseman Dean Malenko (also works for the WWE) and current WWE stars John Cena & Chris Jericho. Next Flair's family came out including his son Reid who is currently a WWE developmental wrestler. And finally Shawn Michaels came out and HHH noted their matching Rolex watches. Michaels gave one to Flair on Sunday. At that point, the entire WWE locker room came out to thank Flair led by Edge, The Big Show, Kane & Dave Finlay. And that was a great scene until the show ended.
After RAW went off the air, The Undertaker came out followed by the McMahon family. For those who are wondering, the WWE is protecting the Undertaker character but he wanted to participate. Of course the only one fans would have liked to see was Sting as he was one of Flair's greatest opponents but he works for TNA so that wasn't going to happen. Both Roddy Piper & Bobby Heenan have had recent health issues and weren't in Orlando. The only guy I would have liked to see out there is Bob "Black Jack Mulligan" Windham. He was in Orlando and is very close to Flair. Flair will continue to work for the WWE probably as a goodwill ambassador. He has admitted in interviews that he doesn't have the patience to be a trainer. He could certainly help guys with promos. He could be a great mouthpiece for a young guy but that's something that's not in vogue today. Ric Flair has given all wrestling fans a lot of great memories but it was time to go. Thank you Ric Flair.